Sunday, February 5, 2012

Two Boatyards, A Battery, and The Elwha River

I love the sunshine. You know you are from the PNW when you know what to do when the sun comes out in February---you get in it! Tim and I missed getting away for our anniversary in January, so since it was almost my birthday we made our escape! Totally a coincidence that the sun also came to greet us!

Our first stop was Port Townsend. We parked up on the hill and walked down into town. I love the architecture in this old port town.

We walked past the quirky shops, all of the way to the new wooden boat building. PT has done a great job building lots of public access to the water. By noon, EVERYBODY was all on the beaches, we were the early birds. (Thank goodness!)

Probably because of the economy, there were lots of boats in dry dock, being fixed up. We spent a lot of time wandering around looking at things. I have always been fascinated by how people live on and near the water.

The green one to the right is the Lady Kate. People name their boats interesting names; I wonder why so many include the name of Kate?

We thought that this one would be a good one for Gpa B to work on. Doesn't it look like a boat that he would enjoy? It look like a yacht from the 1930's.

This ship was inside a giant canvas (maybe it was plastic) garage. I had not seen one so large before. The giant motorized four legged cranes on wheels that they use to lift boats out of the water are impressive. I would love to be able to watch the process of dry docking a boat. There was even a really nice house boat being built in the marina. Fascinating.

After a really nice lunch at our favorite out of the way spot, it was time for a hike. On the other side of town, between the water treatment plant (above--it looks like a lovely lake) and Chief Chemoika Park there is a trail up to some of the batteries that once guarded the Strait into Seattle. These batteries were built during the first world war.

Remnants of the old installation are everywhere. We stopped and peaked at a few on the way to the top. This was the view down from a light platform--if you look closely you can see footprints in the sand below--the tide was out. This particular station had tracks that a huge spotlight could be wheeled out to patrol the water at night.

Nearing one section of battery you had to walk through a tunnel. Looking at the top of the arch, above you, can see what is left of a track that was used to probably move ammo to the big guns.

Emmerging from the tunnel you see this! (Doesn't it look like a great place to play paint ball or lazer tag?) Men worked and lived here year round for several decades, protecting the ship yards in Seattle from attack. They are really well built, no cracks and not filled with water--just leaves and dust.

To get back up into the sunlight, we climbed up one of the ladders.

The view was great. That is Point Wilson Lighthouse down near the water's edge.

The strait was very busy with ships and we could see Rainier south and Baker to the north and everything in between from this vantage point. We had more we wanted to see so we made our way back to the car and headed for Sequim.

After shopping for my birthday present (a Router!--yeah) and visiting some fun shops downtown, it was time to find some dinner and locate a place to sleep! We enjoyed dinner at Appleby's and stayed at the new Holiday Inn Express in Sequim.

Next morning we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and spent a couple of hours researching our Mexico trip. When the frost outside had warmed, Tim wanted to visit the site on the Elwah River where they are tearing down the dam. So we headed west to the river.

There is a live camera on line where you can watch the progress on both the upper and lower dams. This is what is left of the Elwha Dam. The winter has been mild and fairly dry, so they have gotten a lot done on the three year project. Can hardly tell where it was.

Now we were curious what the lower end of the river looked like. We discovered that the old wooden bridge over the river had been recently replaced by a nice new one! This is the view from the walkway above.

While on the walkway, Tim spotted this bird. He is pretty sure it was an immature eagle (mom thinks hawk), sitting on a branch, near the Chinook hatchery across the river.

Once across the bridge we turned and took a picture of what the pedestrian walkway looked like. It is used by people, cyclists and horses--and probably wildlife too. It would be cool to see a bear using it-- at least as long as I wasn't trying to use it at the same time!

Another view to give you and idea of the size. This is part of the Discovery Trail that Tim and I have ridden our bikes on from Seven Cedars Casino to Port Angeles. Now it looks like there is about another 8 miles that we could do--soon to be paved all of the way!

Still curious about the mouth of the river, we wandered around and finally found a new beach at the mouth. (video below) There were some beautiful beach homes that I was more than slightly envious of and most of them were unoccupied! I was so tempted to walk around them and peek inside, but being the law abiding citizens that we are, we didn't. With hungry tummies, we decided to travel the last short distance to Port Angeles.

We got a couple of sandwiches and then drove out on Ediz Hook to watch the shipping lanes. Each ship which enters Juan de Fuca Strait is required to have a pilot on board to navigate the waterway into the Seattle/Tacoma docks. We were able to see a pilot boat deliver a pilot to this ship without stopping. Amazing!

There were three huge tankers in Port Angeles harbor. This one was just firing up as Tim took the picture. It was cool looking at the ships with the mountains towering above.

Moving in closer to the docks in PA we were able to get pretty close to these ships. Notice that there are two of them at the docks. One is smaller than the other. These are massive ships.

Here is a shot for perspective; that is a building in front of the "little" ship.

Some boats near the "big ship"

This is my art shot of the bow.

So the day was done and it was time to go home. I tried to capture a picture of the beautiful sunset view from the Hood Canal Bridge. This particular shot is from the end of the bridge, the ones that I took while crossing were blurry--oh well.

We had a fun weekend get away. Sometimes this empty nest stuff can be fun. Bryan enjoyed having the house to himself--at least he cleaned up the party mess really well! Enjoy the videos!

Love mamala and pa


  1. Home still looks the same. I miss all the green and prettyness =D Yes that is a word. Love you guys.

  2. Should I send you some seaweed and sand in a container for you to smell when you need some home?

  3. Wow... the sound on the video was awesome. I could hear the crash of the wave followed by the sound of all those rocks being turned by the retreating water. I miss the beach. Colorado would be vastly improved if it were coastal. Seriously.

    Looks to me like you guys had a wonderful trip. Amazing all the things you can find not far from Poulsbo. Made me wish I were home again. I love the PNW a lot.

    Thanks for posting your adventure. It was a hoot and a half to read!

    1. Encredible! Thanks for a wonderful time in Gridley. May your life be as beautiful as your pictures.